UPDATED July 1, 2023


Out of Bergen, Norway comes the heavy blues/southern rockband HOWLIN’ SUN. Maxime is the 2nd album of this band which is formed around Tor-Erik Bjelde (vocals, guitar), Magnus Gullachsen (guitar), Pieter Ten Napel (bass) and Torgrim Nåmdal (drums), and this new album was recorded live to tape in an old sardine packaging plant by the sea side in Bergen, Norway. Although the start is a bit raw, things get better and better throughout the album during lovely songs such as Let’s Go Steady, Jayne and Be Mine. The music is a mix of blues, southern rock, soul, classic rock and fuzzy garage rock, kinda like we know it from Dutch bands like VOLTAGE, DE WOLFF, LEIF DE LEEUW BAND (or of course THE BLACK CROWES when we speak on international terms), etc. , sometimes uptempo and groovy, raw and rocking, while at other times finding a healthy calmer mix of southern americana and bluesy soul (Jayne). Well done for sure and nice to check out if you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned bands. More info at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Delightful Sharp Edges is the 6th album of the Norwegian band HEX A.D., but their first on APOLLON RECORDS. Their music is a strong mix of 70s classic progrock, stoner rock and doom metal (light), with a focus on beautiful haunting memorable melodies, especially in the guitar department. The band is formed around Rick Hagan (guitars, vocals, drums, bass, mellotron), Mags Johansen (keyboards, Hammond organ, mellotron), Are Gogstad (bass) and Matt Hagan (drums), and the sound of this new album is quite impressive, epic and bombastic with a sorta metal approach, although on this new album they are also influenced by 70s acts like THIN LIZZY and WISHBONE ASH. OPETH is a good comparison and sometimes they remind me of SAVATAGE a little bit, although HEX A.D. has an own identity by now. The guys absolutely deliver here, and the album is very diverse, because calmer parts are followed up by heavier material. Especially part 2 of the epic journey called Radio Terror is a lovely uptempo piece that shows HEX A.D. at their very best, but also the midtempo stoner rock/doom metal of the smokin’ hot part 2: Throwing Down The Gauntlet needs to be mentioned! As you will notice this is a concept album, so each and every song is connected with each other, and fans of prog, doom and stoner rock will definitely like this record a lot! More at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The French band CANTO DO SOL was formed during the lock-down, which was thanks to the social networks that brought the musicians together. Avant L’Equinoxe is the resulting first album that was recorded in Paris during late 2022 and early 2023. The band is formed around SOPHIE MAGNANI (vocals, guitar), HERVE MORISOT (guitar, mandolin, piano), FILIPE DOURADO (Cavaquinho = Portuguese guitar like an ukele/banjo guitar mixture) and percussionist WENDELL ALMEIDA. Right from the start with songs like A Contretemps and Gabi, it is clear that we are listening to a high quality cheerful, fun, summer-ready sunshine band that gives out a lot of positive energy, cool rhythms and a really nice vibe that will please everyone outside enjoying the summer sun. Sophie is a strong singer and the music swings from start to finish, with a sorta mixture of French chanson, Brazilian samba - bossa - ijéxá - xote - arrasta pé, World Music and a touch of Cuban jazz. It’s all perfectly blended into an exciting fun sound that will please a lot of people I think. You can hear it for yourself at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


MILES DAVIS is mentioned as starting point for the 3-CD set of a live performance the ANTHROPOLOGY BAND gave at the Newcastle Festival Of Jazz and Improvised Music and at a café in London in 2022. The 8-piece band consists of Martin Archer (saxophones, electronics, composer), Charlotte Keeffe (trumpet, flugelhorn, arranger), Chris Sharkey (guitar, electronics), Pat Thomas (keyboards, electronics), Orphy Robinson (xylosynth), Dave Sturt (bass guitar), Anton Hunter (guitar, electronics) and Adam Fairclough (drums). Together they were at high speed level those 2 nights that have been perfectly recorded and now released on CD. It is a very interesting mixture and improvisation of all kinds of directions, jazz, freestyle-jazz, fusion jazz and complex progressive rock, but it actually goes even further than that. SNARKY PUPPY is being praised for doing a similar thing, but once you hear ANTHROPOLOGY BAND, then you will be even more impressed, because these guys stretch things much further, which is partly thanks to the amazing MARTIN ARCHER, the leader and founder of the band and their label DISCUS MUSIC. Make sure not to miss this exciting instrumental triple CD set that takes you straight back to the actual performances of the band in 2022. More info at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


MARTIN ARCHER is an extremely busy bee, because besides running his label DISCUS MUSIC, he also produces and plays on most releases. Here he is playing the sopranino and baritone sax, clarinet and flute on the album of RON CAINES, and in addition he invited his band AXIS that consists of 6 more musicians to play along and give it a real British Jazz approach. Improvised freestyle jazz is definitely the way to go here from scratch to finish. 17 songs in total, with a clear focus on the sax, because Ron himself also plays soprano, alto & tenor saxophones. Sometimes quite experimental and improvised most of the time, this CD is clearly recommended to the open-mind jazzfans out there. More info at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Veer is the 4th album of the Sheffield, UK based band DAS RAD, and on this new album they welcome new bassist JON SHORT to their line-up that further consists of MARTIN ARCHER (sax, woodwind, keys), STEVE DINSDALE (drums, keys), NICK ROBERTSON (guitar, keys, loops) and as guest on 1 song PETER ROPHONE (vocals). The band’s music is instrumental 70s progressive rock orientated, so this is Martin’s proggy adventure for sure, although you can also smell the 70s jazz and even some alternative rock influences here and there. Opener Lutraphobia is a real straight-ahead uptempo rocking tune that is perhaps the rockiest song ever released on DISCUS MUSIC. Great start and straight until the end this is an exciting progressive rock dominated album that has an own identity for sure. The guitarwork is upfront, but the sax of Martin is also present quite often, just to give it his freestyle-jazz touch. This is really a great album, and for more info you can go to:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



American singer/songwriter STEVE MEDNICK (also plays guitar, piano, organ) returns with another nice folky singer-songwriter pop/rock album in the style of good old BOB DYLAN and a bit of RANDY NEWMAN, NEIL YOUNG and such, especially due to Steve’s raspy raw voice. Story-telling songs is the name of the game here, with a little help of KARL ALLWEIER (guitar, bass, vocals), BRETT CALABRESE (guitar), ISAAC CIVITELLO (drums, keys, guitar) and a few more guests, this is a nice album to listen to and with a total of 20 songs there is a lot to enjoy here. The music is also very diverse, because a song like Distant Sorrows has a really nice relaxing westcoast ish vibe with also a beautiful guitarsolo, while here and there we go into pure folk approach, but overall this is singer-songwriter orientated with a slight rocky edge. After All These Years sums it all up in 1 song, so make sure to start with this one when checking out Steve at:


(Points: 7.5 out of 10)




JAIME MICHAELS is a Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA based singer/songwriter and How To Shine is his 12th solo album so far. Musically speaking this is once again beautiful calmer singer-songwriter music in the Americana/Folk tradition of mainly PAUL SIMON, especially hearable during a song like Angelus, while of course SIMON & GARFUNKEL also comes to mind when listening to Beauty Doesn’t Need Forever. 11 songs are included in total on his new CD, and it varies from calmer to more uptempo orientated tunes, and it is all done very nicely, especially thanks to Michael’s relaxing way of singing and playing the guitar. More info can be found at:


(Points: 7.8 out of 10)




The English singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer GREGORY PAGE has released a lot of music since the early 90s, so meanwhile he has built up quite a reputation, also via touring, and his new album Modern Man shows a nice modern ish approach to his familiar singer/songwriter folky Americana material on his previous albums. You can already see that when looking at the retro early 80s looking album cover, and with the help of the legendary JASON MRAZ on synths, this new album has a clear late 70s/early 80s somewhat quirky pop/rock touch, especially during lovely uptempo pieces such as F The Future and Modern Man. Gregory has a lovely charismatic voice and the songs all have catchy memorable melodies that somehow capture an own identity, because it’s hard to compare his material other than GREGORY PAGE himself. One of the absolute highlights is the beautiful shuffle A Modern Love Story, which has a sorta melancholic almost jazzy kinda feeling. Fans of Steve will easily find their way to this new album, more info at:


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)




The Swedish musician/singer/songwriter THOMAS PONTEN is the leader of the band LOVE ON DRUGS, and their new album Fluke is a nice diverse record that opens with Through The Dark, which is a great catchy uptempo modern British melodic powerpop/rocker that is not too far away from bands like INHALER, WHITE LIES, THE KILLERS and also a bit of THE WAR ON DRUGS. It’s a rather catchy tune with a lovely soaring guitarsolo besides a catchy chorus, and it could easily become a huge radiohit this summer! As we travel further through the album, it marks a lot of other music influences as well, even some beautiful Americana during Where The Water Flows, Indie pop a la BEAR’S DEN on a lot of songs and how about some 70s British Pop a la AL STEWART or even ELTON JOHN on a song like Tears Must Fall. It’s all done very well and concluded you might easily say that this is a rather catchy little album, and for more info please go to:


(Points: 8.0 out of 10)




Andromeda is the 2nd album of the German band THE SUN OF THE MOON. They were formed in the summer of 2019 in the city of Mainz by 4 musicians whom share a love to explore the prog, psychedelic and krautrock sounds of the 1970s and give it an own modern approach throughout their band’s recordings. The line up consists of FRANK INCENCE (vocals, bass, guitar, synthesizer), MARKUS WEBER (guitar), SUSANNE SCHNEIDER (piano, keys) and NICLAS CIRCIACY (drums, percussion), and I have to say that Andromeda is an incredible record that truly is a fantastic modern take on the sounds of classic 70s prog/kraut/psychedelic rockbands such as CAN, TANGERINE DREAM, HAWKWIND, AMON DUUL, KRAFTWERK, PINK FLOYD, etc. etc. On the other hand there is the link to the modern prog of PORCUPINE TREE as well. 8 songs are included, some are quite lengthy, and each song has a lot for you to discover, because within the prog/krautrocksound of THE SUN OR THE MOON there are influences of other music genres as well, such as jazz-fusion, new wave, trip-hop, techno, gothic, industrial (best hearable during the KRAFTWERK meets RAMMSTEIN lightish Psychedelic Kosmonait), so all together this is a great adventure anyone with an open-minded music heart would love to experience. Personal favorite songs are such classic 70s psych krautrock trips like Operation Mindfuck and the Art Of Microdoging that take you straight back to the days of bands like CAN, GROBSCHNITT, KRAAN, SWEET SMOKE, LA DUSSELDORF, etc.etc. Without a doubt, a lovely high quality record and for more info please go to:


(Points: 8.6 out of 10)




THE UPLOAD BAND is a German one man band consisting of MICHAEL BECKETT, who did everything on his own on the first album Living In Paradise. Musically speaking we drift into a guitar indie-pop orientated direction that reminds me of acts like WILCO, YO LA TENGO, BEAR’S DEN and such. There’s a clear dreampop touch as well and Michael’s way of singing is typical indie orientated, sorta like BECK. The songs are uplifting and feature some very nice melodies in a light psychedelic direction (highlight is ohfivetwosixfive). Nice album for sure and more info can be found at:


(Points: 7.8 out of 10)




Here we have a sensational new classic rockband from Portland, Oregon, USA called LAST GIANT. Although Monuments is already their 4th album so far, I have not seen much about them so far. The band is actually formed around one man, RFK Heise, who plays guitar, keys and sings, and other musicians joining him are Drummer Matt Wiles and Bassist Palmer Cloud. The songs truly rock and have a sorta 70s/80s nostalgic approach due to the cool guitar riffs (just listen to the 80s rock riff of Hell On Burnside) and also overall it is a mixture of 80s glamrock, 70s classic rock and a piece of punky hairy metal! Imagine a mix between BILLY IDOL, OZZY, MOTLEY CRUE and DURAN DURAN if that make sense it all, then you might have the sound of LAST GIANT, especially during catchy uptempo rockers like Hell On Burnside, In Make Up and the superb Soldiers (even THE CULTish). Without a doubt, this is a great cool band that definitely needs more attention, and hopefully they will receive more press with this new album Monuments. More info at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)




I was absolutely not familiar with THE ORION EXPERIENCE from New York City, but apparently this band had a surprise hit "The Cult of Dionysus" on social media in 2020, which resulted in 150 million streams on Spotify, 53.4 million views on Youtube and 8.36 million streams on Apple Music. Anyway, their fifth album Cosmicovers will be released on May 19 via Sweet! Records, and this is a collection of covers of well-known classics and songs by modern artists/acts, including amongst others DAVID BOWIE’s "Starman”, LINDA RONDSTADT’s "Different Drum," CAVETOWN’s "Lemon Boy", STUDIO KILLERS' "Jenny" and OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN’s "Hopelessly Devoted to You". I am not sure what the line-up is of the band, because the bio only mentions guitarist REEF ROXX and lead singers ORION SIMPRINI and LINDA XO, but I have to admit that the material they bring on this new CD is irresistible and catchy, sorta giving the songs a sweet classic 70s melodic powerpop/poprock meets disco approach, like ABBA meets 70s HEART and a bit of ROXETTE, yet with a modern touch. I think some of these songs, especially Hopelessly Devoted to You and Moving will be instant hits on any dancefloor or festival. The songs do have an own identity, despite these are all covers, THE ORION EXPERIENCE do have an own sound that is very catchy and well-done from start to finish on this new CD. This CD caught me by surprise and I think everyone will have a smile on their faces when hearing such catchy anthems. If it’s done as good as on this CD, then you simply got to love it for sure! Check it out for yourself at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10) 




The Rock House Sessions is the debut album of the Nashville based singer/songwriter NALANI ROTHROCK, who is helped by Joshua Lamkin – guitar, Steve Mackey – bass, Lynn Williams – drums, Kenneth Blevins – drums, Bryan Brock – percussion, Andrew Carney – trumpet, Nicole Boggs - background vocals, Jonell Mosser - background vocals and Jackie Wilson - background vocals on this first CD. Her music is a mix of rootsy bluesy rock and a lot of soul thanks to the fantastic emotional soulful vocals of Nalani. Comparisons to BETH HART, JOSS STONE, BONNIE RAITT, the late TINA TURNER, ANA POPOVIC and such powerful female singers is quite clear, and Nalani is definitely a singer to keep your eyes open for in the future, because she might become the next big thing. The material is very diverse, because there’s calmer soulful material, such as Fool For You and Hold On, and also uptempo rock stuff like Hold On. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by multi-grammy winner KEVIN MCKENDREE (BUDDY GUY, GEORGE BENSON, LITTLE RICHARD…), and from start to finish this is a highly recommended soulful bluesy rock record that is a must if you’re a fan of the aforementioned acts. More info can be found at: and


(Points: 8.4 out of 10) 




What Will You Do?, Songs of Social Awareness is the debut album of the American singer/songwriter WHITNEY PARNELL. Whitney is a black millennial activist, singer, and social entrepreneur who grew up "around the world" as a Foreign Service child, and, after graduating college, she committed her life's work to social justice, and now she releases her first CD that consists of 9 self-written songs. The musicians on her debut CD are Joshua Davies (piano), Jerome Taylor (drums) and Alex Bizzarro (guitar), and the CD starts rather calm with a singer-songwriter introduction where Whitney speaks, but on the following song My Life we get to hear a great midtempo melodic modern rocker with strong soulful vocals. The rest of the album is a mixture of different styles and usually calmer and less rocking, even a bit like WHITNEY HOUSTON 80s influenced pop here and there, and I have to admit that it isn’t bad at all, because it is also quite soulful, yet hopefully she will record some more rockier material next time, because that aforementioned rocking song My Life does reflect a YOLA kinda direction which is really good, so there’s definitely potential here. More info can be found at:


(Points: 8.0 out of 10) 



Echoes From The Past is the 3rd album of the trilogy around JEANNE D'ARC, and it marks the 21st studio album overall of the legendary band ELOY. The only original member of the year 1969 when this German band was founded is guitarist/vocalist FRANK BORNEMANN. The band has had a lot of line up changes throughout their 54 year career, but thankfully the music has always been at a very high symphonic/progressive rock level. I received a beautiful gatefolded blue vinyl copy of their new album, and just like all their previous albums, also Echoes From The Past is a really great perfect 70s orientated symphonic/progressive rockalbum with all the aspects of the band's past sounds. There is a lot of information and lyrics are included as well in the gatefolded inner sleeve of the album cover, and highlights on this new album are the titletrack Echoes From The Past, the strong Warning Signs, and Fate, but also the final 2 lengthy songs show that especially during the instrumental passages ELOY is one of the true pioneers of German progrock. This might well be the very last ELOY album, so better make sure to check it out at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Recorded live Sept. 2021 at Atlantis, Basel in Basel, Switzerland, the American guitarist DOUG DEMING and his JEWEL TONES  did a marvelous performance 2 years ago, and this live gig has now been released on CD. They have already released about 5 albums since the early 2000s, so they have a good collection of songs that musically speaking is a mixture of blues, swing, jazz, rockabilly and old time rock and roll. The set included 8 original songs and 3 covers of songs by blues legends like WILLIE DIXON, LITTLE WALTER and FATS DOMINO. Doug sings and plays guitar, while his rhythm section band THE JEWEL TONES consists of drummer ZACK POMERLEAU and bassist ANDREW GOHMAN. There are also a few guests on this special night, namely keyboardplayer BILL HEID and saxplayers SAX GORDON and TERRY HANCK. All together a great live concert that we now all can enjoy, and basically it is a real must for the fans of old school traditional jazzy blues. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Now this is how classic 80s American Hardrock should sound like! WICKED hail from Rochester, New York, USA, and they have been conquering the New York area for 10 years now. The Last American Rockband is their 5th album so far, and I must say it is quite sensational. The band is formed around bassist Danny Martin, vocalist/guitarist Chad Michaels, guitarist Scotty Ventura and drummer Gunnar Coston. Chad is an amazing classic 80s American rock singer and overall the band sounds amazing, as if we're listening to a major label band around 1989. 8 songs are on this new CD, and opener American Rock N Roller shows right away that we are dealing here with a band that sounds definitely like we stepped back in time to the 80s and we're back in the AUTOGRAPH, KEEL, HEAVEN'S EDGE, DIVING FOR PEARLS era. New York Tough follows in an even more uptempo twin-guitar dominated melodic hardrock direction with a superb catchy chorus, and reminding of bands like FIREHOUSE, SLYBOYZ, KNOW ILLUSION, etc. Despite their looks, lyrics and album artwork, they are not as Glam/Party Hardrock orientated as you might expect, because they are definitely not in the POISON/CRUE style, although the 4 guys look like your typical 80s Hair Metal / STEEL PANTHER / WIG WAM posers. Hooligans is perhaps a bit more Glam/Party/Hair Metal ish a la classic TUFF, but WICKED clearly has a very professional high qualty sound that takes the best elements of all that made the 80s the finest and funniest melodic era of the past. Time Has Come To Rock is quite a heavy rocker, with a slight early SKID ROW approach, although WIG WAM is also a good comparison.

High Roller toughen things up in a classic RATT style, while the midtempo Sinner is like FIREHOUSE on their classic debut album from 1980. Next track Thick As Thieves is another cool uptempo classic 80s heavy rocker and closing the album is Hot Stage Lights, a SUPERB uptempo 80s melodic rocker in a sorta DEF LEPPARD meets FIREHOUSE style. Concluded, this WICKED has got all the ingredients to make it big, and if they are live on stage as good as on this CD, then we will sure all have a good time. Hopefully they will make it over to Europe someday soon! Check them out at:

(Points: 9.1 out of 10)


FARAWAYS is a Swedish trio performing a mix of classic rock, psychedelic rock and folkrock, sounding quite melodic on their new 6-tracks counting album Decades Of Dormancy. They were formed all the way back in the mid 90s, and recorded several demos until 2002 bore calling it quits. Covid brought them back together, and now they come up with 6 great new songs, of which the highlights are the catchy uptempo Silvertrain Ride (THE DAMNED meets BIG COUNTRY) and the 60s psychedelic garage rock influenced Ruby Ring Of Love, although I also need to mention the slow THE DOORS inspired Frozen Moon. These guys deliver a great portion of music here that will appeal to mosly the fans of older classic rock and early 70s psychedelic rock. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Do not confuse LOVE ON DRUGS with the American band THE WAR ON DRUGS, because when listening to the first song on the new album of the Swedish band LOVE ON DRUGS, the catchy uptempo Americana melodic powerpop/rocker Through The Dark, it sounds almost identical to THE WAR ON DRUGS. However, LOVE ON DRUGS comes out of Sweden, and is mainly concentrated around THOMAS PONTEN (guitars/mandolin/bass/percussion/keys/lead vocals) and a bunch of Swedish guest musicians. Fluke is the 4th LP, and it contains 10 songs, of which closing track Heaven is a cover of the TALKING HEADS song. Besides that catchy fantastic opener other highlights are Stranger Danger, Never Walk Away and the lovely Follow Me Down. The music melts 80s new wave with new country and a few Americana influences, ending up sounding like a cross between BEAR'S DEN, THE JAYHAWKS, THE WAR ON DRUGS and NEIL YOUNG if that makes any sense! Check for yourself, because LOVE ON DRUGS is a really good band! More info at: and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



There are more musicians by the name of JACOB MORRIS, but this Jacob releases his debut album on the American label STROLLING BONES RECORDS, and musically speaking he is entering a sort of alternative calm folk/indie pop/singer/songwriter direction that sounds a bit dreamy/poetic/atmospheric. It’s actually a mini album that contains 8 tracks in total, and most of them sound sweet and warm, and so for the rockers among us there is not much to be found here. Besides writing, producing, singing and playing guitar on all the songs, he gets help from JOHN FERNANDES (violin, clarinet), THOMAS VALADEZ (guitar), CULLEN TOOLE (guitar, keys) and AL DAGLIS (drums), and basically delivers a nice little calm record here that might appeal to fans of SIMON & GARFUNKEL (have a listen to Stoney for example). Check for yourself at:


(Points: 7.4 out of 10)



Messenger is already the 6th album of the Nashville, USA based singer/songwriter/guitarist BART RYAN, an incredible talented musician and singer who deserves a lot more attention. His music fits somewhere between singer/songwriter pop/rock and soulful bluesy rock, and especially his fantastic raw voice makes Bart such a great performer. Besides Bart, the other musicians are bassist JEFF LEGORE, drummer JIM EVANS and a few backing vocalists. Bart wrote all the songs, while he also produced all the songs. 10 songs are included, and the highlights are the slow bluesy opener One World, the rather catchy melodic uptempo rocking Street Corner Angel, and the uptempo rootsy americana pop/rocker Working On A Dream. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, JACKSON BROWNE and TOM PETTY come to mind here and there, but Bart has an own style within his singer/songwriter/rootsy blues americana pop/rocksound due to his unique raw vocals, and I can therefore easily highly recommend his wonderful new album Messenger. More info can be found at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Louche is the debut EP of the Belgian band STEVE LEON & THE ACCUSATIONS, whom create a calmer dark somewhat alternative 80s indie/folk/country kinda mixture that sounds very melodic and original actually, although there are clear influences of bands like THE SMITHS, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN, GREEN ON RED, yet with a very light country/folk touch as well, so an original melting pot we have here from Antwerp. There are sadly only 5 songs on the album of the band that consists of Steve Leon - vocals, guitar, Mila Francis - vocals, violin, mandolin, guitar, Yannick Hermans – guitar, Kristof Van de Vliet – bass, Bouke Cools - pedal steel, banjo and Tim Martens – drums. Songs like Don’t Let Anyone In and The Restless Kind are absolutely beautiful and I can definitely urge you to check out this interesting new act. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



A very interesting adventure, progressive rock riffs with Arabian melodies, kinda like ALTIN GUN meets PORCUPINE TREE and Balkan jazz influences as well, so this is unique for sure! Opener the best and the English song Heartbeat is a very relaxing tune , melodic progrock a bit, while other songs also reflect other World Music influences, such as the great Ici-la Bas and original cover of Rung Of Fire JIHNY cash, BEST AT THE BEGGINIHG LATER a bit stabdard

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Although there are only 5 songs on the CD of British singer/songwriter/guitarist SAMUEL ASHTON, we can hear that the music is of an exceptionally high level. Samuel has a sensational deep old soul tone in his voice (a la RAG'N'BONE MAN), and his music is a lovely mix of 70s funk, soul and bluesy rock. Besides Samuel on vocals and guitar, there are a few other musicians joining him. There's also a certain DE WOLFF, DAPTONE RECORDS and COLEMINE RECORDS kinda vibe on a few of the songs, such as the wonderful Witch Doctor and during Healer MICHAEL KIWANUKA comes to mind. Although only 21 minutes of playing time, this CD definitely shows that Samuel will belong to the absolute best of the best in a few years time from now. Look out for the Kent based musician, who is a bit groovier and much more soulful in his voice than other guitarists/singers such as JOE BONAMASSA, KENNY WAYNE SHEPHARD, LAURENCE JONES, etc. Check out all info on this amazing musician at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Out of Estonia comes JUDITH PARTS, a multi-instrumentalist abd producer who is now settled in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Meadowset is her first album. The included music is of a very high level, although it is very experimental, so perhaps not appealing to each and everyone out there. Judith has an amazing voice, and her music is angelic atmospheric electronic pop orientated that reminds me a bit of LAPSLEY. The material is divided into 6 chapters, and you can really feel the nordic european vibe in Judith's music. At the moment there are a lot of female singers creating this kind of music, and Judith goes one step further by adding some experimental sounds, and I have to say it is a joy to listen to the debut album of this talented musician. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The band STRANGE HORIZON comes out of Bergen, Norway, and their 2nd album is titled Skur 14, which musically is a mix of doom metal, psychedelic rock, nwobhm and classic hardrock. BLACK SABBATH is an obvious reference we can make while listening to their new album, and they are doing it very well on the 4 long songs we can find on Skur 14. The band consists of Qvillio - Guitar, vocals, Lindesteg - Electric bass guitar and Daae - drums, and especially the uptempo Candles has some very strong melodies during both the guitarwork and the rather catchy chorus. I am also sometimes thinking of SPIDERGAWD while listening to STRANGE HORIZON, so I guess you will now more or less understand in which direction this band is moving into. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



THE CINELLI BROTHERS are a band from London, UK, and after witnessing them live at the Jazz Festival in Breda, The Netherlands, I was overwhelmed by this sensational band, because they sounded really amazing and very authentic. The band plays classic British/Chicago Blues Rock in the late 1960s style of PAUL/THE BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND, CANNED HEAT, very early PETER GREEN’s FLEETWOOD MAC, TEN YEARS AFTER, ERIC CLAPTON’s blues of the early days, etc. etc., yet with also a lot of soul and other 50s/60s influences. The band’s line up consists of the brothers Marco (guitar, keys, vocals) and Alessandro Cinelli (drums, B/V’s), and they are joined by Tom Julian-Jones (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Stephen Giry (bass, guitar, B/V’s). So far 3 albums have been released, Babe Please Set Your Alarm (2018), Villa Juke Joint (2021) and No Country For Bluesmen (2022), which features guests on every track, including legends like DANA GILLESPIE, IAN SIEGAL, BIG JOE LOUIS and many up and coming stars of the British blues scene. The band was kind enough to send me their 3 albums, and I am glad they did, because everything they have done is sensational from start to finish, and the cartoon cover artwork of their records is a joy to look at while listening to their fantastic music.


Their debut Babe Please Set Your Alarm contains 12 songs, of which 3 are covers (including PRINCE’s Kiss!), and this CD is a winner right from the start with classics such as Babe Please Set Your Alarm, Don’t Hold Back And Love Me, Back Door Man, One More Minute Over Me (superb soulful vocalwork!) and the uptempo She Done Gone Away, all capturing that true classic late 60s British Blues Rocksound, with also a touch of Chicago Blues and even a bit of 60s R&B/Soul. These guys are reaching an extremely high level, sometimes even reminding me of a calmer DE WOLFF crossed with the aforementioned acts, and especially the soulful vocalwork is making them a perfect sounding original band!


The follow-up album Villa Juke Joint continues the sound of the 2018 album, and this time the highlights are the rocking opener Choo Ma Gum, Dry Smell, Married Woman and Whole Whistle. They rock a bit more and are less blues orientated than on their debut, sounding here and there a bit like VINTAGE TROUBLE. Their latest album is No Country For Bluesmen, which features as mentioned a list of guest blues musicians, and this might be their best album so far because it is also their most diverse, which is perhaps due to the use of various guest singers and musicians. The CD has many highlights, including the superb opening uptempo rocker Make You Mine, the soulful High Time We Run, the soulful semi/blues ballad Deep Down Devil (featuring ALICE ARMSTRONG), Dish It Out, Leave It All Behind and the funky groovy Careful What You Wish For. Without a doubt, this is one of the finest heavy blues/soul records of the past few years, and it is a must-have if you like the old school blues of the aforementioned acts, but also if you like for example the new wave of Dutch soul/blues/rock like KING OF THE WORLD, SVEN HAMMOND SOUL and DE WOLFF.


Catch them live when you can, and get their records a.s.a.p., because THE CINELLI BROTHERS are definitely one of the best Blues rockbands to emerge from the UK at the moment! More info can be found at:


(Points: 9.0 out of 10)




DEDE BOOTH is a Boston, USA based musician who is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who started in the band SENTENIA, a progressive goth rockband that released a few albums, but eventually Dede went solo and now she releases her new album Parallels, a progressive/symphonic rock orientated record on which she does almost everything on her own. It’s a bit experimental here and there, while the drums seem to come out of a drum computer (correct me if I’m wrong), Vocally not as strong as for example the mentioned comparisons in her bio (PORCUPINE TREE, RIVERSIDE, THE COCTEAU TWINS), Dede does still a nice job by doing everything by herself, because instrumental and composition wise she delivers a nice concept album with Parallels. It consists of 5 acts that are quite lengthy and offer enough to keep the progrockfan entertained. Check for yourself more info at:


(Points: 7.0 out of 10)




SAY ZUZU is an Americana/Alt-Country/Rock band from New Hampshire, USA, and No Time To Lose is their comeback album, because for over 20 years they were out of the picture. The band was originally formed in the early 1990s, managed to release several albums in the following 10 years, got close to signing a record deal, but eventually never got signed to a bigger label until recently during the pandemic when STROLLING BONES RECORDS released a compilation album of the band, and eventually this led to a reformation and a new album in the shape of No Time To Lose. The band consists of Cliff Murphy (vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica), Jon Nolan (vocals, lap steel guitar, piano, keyboards), James Nolan (bass), Steve Ruhm (drums, mandoline), Tim Nylander (drums, keyboards) and Jon Pistey (guitar, bass), and they sound very fresh on this exciting new album. Musically speaking their rootsy alternative country rock is not far removed from THE JAYHAWKS, CALEXICO, THE POSIES, NEIL YOUNG, TOM PETTY, THE EAGLES and even a bit THE HOOTERS, just mix them all up together, and then you have the SAY ZUZU sound. A pandemic made sure the band started up again after splitting up in 2001, and as already mentioned this new album is a great return that features many highlights, such as the wonderful opener Waking Up (pure TOM PETTYish Heartland rocker), the calmer VENICE ish Big Horizon, the beautiful melodic rockers Look Whatcha Done and Old Soldier. Welcome back guys with your combination of beautiful melodies, strong vocals and summer-breeze sound! More info can be found at:


(Points: 8.6 out of 10)




Out of Athens, Georgia, USA comes CHICKASAW MUDD PUPPIES, a band that was formed back in the late 80s/early 90s. They managed to have a short fifteen minutes of fame 30 years ago when they released 2 albums that were even produced by MICHAEL STIPE (REM) and WILLIE DIXON. After splitting up during the 90s, the band reformed about 10 years ago, and Fall Line is their new album. The band consists of Brant Slay (Harp/Vocals), Ben Reynolds (Guitar/Vocals) and Alan Cowart (Drums), and their music is an interesting mixture of classic foot-stomping desert blues rock from out of the swamp in the heat of the midwestern USA and a bit of alternative rock / NEIL YOUNG / R.E.M. melted straight through here and there. The result is an interesting album that when going for that dirty mean slow groovy bluesy rocksound, CHIICKASAW MUDD PUPPIES sounds at their best, such as during the fantastic Roadkill, Navigate and Florida, which even recall late 60s British/Chicago Blues Rock of the CANNED HEAT / JON SPENCER EXPLOSION / THE BUTTERFIELD BAND kind. However, there is also some clear alternative country rock influences to be heard as well, such as the uptempo Flatcar, Smokestack Monkey, Little Man and several times during other songs that also show their love for R.E.M. and NEIL YOUNG. A mixture of 2 worlds is what this is all about, and therefore definitely recommended to check out at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)




There are more musicians by the name of JACOB MORRIS, but this Jacob releases his debut album on the American label STROLLING BONES RECORDS, and musically speaking he is entering a sort of alternative calm folk/indie pop/singer/songwriter direction that sounds a bit dreamy/poetic/atmospheric. It’s actually a mini album that contains 8 tracks in total, and most of them sound sweet and warm, and so for the rockers among us there is not much to be found here. Besides writing, producing, singing and playing guitar on all the songs, he gets help from JOHN FERNANDES (violin, clarinet), THOMAS VALADEZ (guitar), CULLEN TOOLE (guitar, keys) and AL DAGLIS (drums), and basically delivers a nice little calm record here that might appeal to fans of SIMON & GARFUNKEL (have a listen to Stoney for example). Check for yourself at:


(Points: 7.4 out of 10)



The Italian band SCREAMIN' DEMONS is a new band formed around 3 ex-members of the legendary Metal band DEATH SS. Formed in 2021, they now release their debut album The New Era. Their line up consists of Alessio Spini (ex-THUNDER RISING) - vocals, Al Priest (ex-DEATH SS, ex-HYDRA) - guitar, Luca Ballabio (ex- F.E.A.S.T., ex-MORTADO) - guitar, Andy Barrington (ex-DEATH SS, ex-V.M.18) – bass, vocals and Ross Lukather (ex-DEATH SS, ex-ATHENA, ex-LABIRINTH, ex-SHINING FURY) - drums, Production is of a very high level, the musicianship is perfect (incredible guitarsound!), vocally it sounds really sensational (Alessio is a real Metal God like SOTO meets HALFORD!) and basically the songwriting is also interesting and diverse, and from the 10 songs that are included the highlights are the Power Metal piece Warrior, the lovely classic Melodic Metal tune Enlight and the proggy catchy chorus driven Night Song (a la SAVATAGE), but from start to finish this sounds superb! I feel a sorta mix between MAIDEN, SAVATAGE, PRIEST and MYSTIC PROPHECY while listening, so this is definitely one of the better massive sounding Melodic Metal releases at the moment, and you can check them out for yourself at: Without a doubt a must-have!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The legendary Swedish Metal band performed a concert at the Keep It True festival back in April 2015, and now this has been released on CD / Vinyl. They were mainly active during the 1980s, had a long pause until reuniting in 2014, and this concert saw them back in action after almost 20 years of inactivity, and since the performance the band has also released new albums. I believe they have always kept the same line-up, so it was a sorta piece of cake to perform at a very high level live on stage, and when listening to this CD you can also clearly hear that. Classic melodic metal with a strong IRON MAIDEN / JUDAS PRIEST kinda vibe, which worked really well among the audience of the festival, and now available on CD and Vinyl. More info at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)


FAIRYTALE is a German band that was founded back in 2000 by guitarist Colin Büttner, who wanted to recreate the classic 80s melodic metalsound of IRON MAIDEN. Along with bassist Hendrik Klahold, guitarist Stefan Absorber, drummer Fabius Karkas and vocalist Carsten Hille, they recorded several albums the past 23 years, and I believe Army Of Ghosts is their 3rd album so far. Throughout the years they managed to develop their own style that is however mostly in the pure Classic Melodic Metal style. The band performs at a high level, and the highlights among the 10 included songs are Army Of Ghosts, Voices From Inside, Alive and Morningside. SCREAMIN’ DEMONS is a recommended band if you like your Metal to sound melodic and traditional, sorta PRIMAL FEAR / PRIEST / SINNER / MAIDEN orientated. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Actually I had never heard of MORTICIAN before, but apparently they have been around for 40 years now. Not that strange, because there aren't that many memorable Austrian Metalbands out there, not now and not in the past, so here we have an exception to that rule. I am glad that PURE STEEL RECORDS picked them up, because this best of album shows they are a very good Metal band in the classic JUDAS PRIEST / ACCEPT style of the 80s traditional Metal. The lyrics are as cliché metal orientated as you can get, such as Leather And Wheels and 40 Years Of Metal, but somehow the band has that classic 80s Teutonic Metal sound of bands like VETO, GRAVESTONE, NOISEHUNTER, and all those legendary SCRATCH RECORDS releases from 35-40 years ago. Production is very good and fans of any of the mentioned bands will love this MORTICIAN. More at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The American guitarist/singer/songwriter ERIC JOHANSON developed an own style throughout the years, which takes elements from blues, hardrock, country, soul, americana and countless other music styles, so especially during his last couple of albums there is a lot of diversity to be heard. On his new album The Deep And The Dirty he is joined by drummer TERENCE HIGGINS (Ani DiFranco / Warren Haynes / Tab Benoit) and bassist ERIC VOGEL (Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Fred Wesley), while producer JESSE DAYTON (SUPERSUCKERS, ROB ZOMBIE) also does some shaker & Tamborine along with PATRICK HERZFIELD. I absolutely loved his previous album, so I was looking forward to his long awaited new album, and now here it is. 12 new songs, of which the highlights are opener Don't Hold Back, the soulful groovy tunes The Deep And The Dirty and Stepping Stone, the uptempo Undertow, the slowtempo semi-ballad Elysian Fields, the amazing slowtempo Familiar Sound and the uptempo rocking Galaxy Girl. Eric has a clear own style, his guitarplaying is phenomenal and his vocals are soulful and spot-on. I think if you like for example JOE BONAMASSA, WALTER TROUT, LAURENCE JONES and such, then you will definitely like this album as well! This is definitely one of the finest albums released this year, so go check it out a.s.a.p. at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Out of Neubrandenburg, Germany comes DAWNATION, a band whom I reviewed a few years ago. Formed around Jan Mecklenburg – Lead Vocals, Percussion, Damian Krebs – Drums, Robert Reich – Bass, Christoph Piel – Guitars, Vocals and Bert Wenndorff – Keyboards, Vocals, the band is playing a healthy fresh catchy progressive melodic rockstyle that combines strong catchy hooks and melodic choruses with well-thought instrumental progrock breaks, so they truly built a bridge between progressive rock and AOR/Melodic Rock. Opener Holes is an instant winner, because here we have a melodic rock song packed inside a progrock setting, catchy enough for the melodic rockfans, but still proggy enough for the progfans. There are some similarities to Dutch progbands like FOR ABSENT FRIENDS and RICOCHER and perhaps also ARENA, EVERON or PALLAS should be mentioned here, yet DAWNATION has an own identity for sure. The production is very good, instrumental it all sounds quite perfect and Jan has a very strong voice, while the songs are all very nice to listen to. One of the absolute highlights is the beautiful semi-ballad Worthless, but the whole album is a pleasure to hear and both prog and melodic rockfans will like this! One of the biggest surprises is the epic Deception that has an exciting uptempo, almost NWOBHM ish part, although the song itself is a great progrocker, and the same actually goes for the uptempo rocker Time (which also has some URIAH HEEP similarities). Anyway, there is a lot to enjoy here and it’s all done at a very high level! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


30 years ago there was an explosion of new German Melodic Hardrockbands, which was mainly due to the now defunct LONG ISLAND RECORDS label that brought us all these new releases of bands like JADED HEART, FRONTLINE, STEEL DAWN, CRIME, STATEMENT, JADED HEART, MASON, MALLET, WILD FRONTIER, etc. etc. HOTWIRE was also one of those bands that released in 1995 their first full-length album, and I was happy to review it back then as well, so upon receiving this new album of them now is a trip down memory lane for me personally, because I had just started my own fanzine/magazine around 1995, and suddenly all these great new bands appeared on my desk! Of course the foundation of German Melodic Hardrock was created in the late 1970s and 1980s when bands like SCORPIONS, BONFIRE, CRAAFT, VICTORY, MAD MAX and countless others ruled the German hardrocking airwaves and this continued throughout the 1990s for a while. In Japan there was a lot of interest for this typical sound, but eventually towards the end of the 1990s it more or less died and only in the underground a few bands continued. However, apparently in 2023 HOTWIRE is still alive and active, because there is a new CD that contains the best songs of the band from the past 30 years, and it even starts with a complete new song, the uptempo melodic rocker Slam, which is a really good song! Their current line-up consists of MICHAEL WERNER (vocals), TOM GLAS (drums), ALEXANDER SCHOTT (bass), HANS HEID (guitar) and DANIEL GUMO REISS (guitar), and this best of CD picks some of their best songs of the past 30 years, such as the catchy melodic rockers Crying In The Night, Midnight Romeo, Talk To Me, Danger Is Calling and Alone. Nice to catchy up with HOTWIRE again after all these years! More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)